Spring Street/College Court
Are you a freshman? Are you looking for your first apartment ever? Are you afraid to go house-hunting any further than 500 yards from Sellery Hall?
Then the Spring Street/College Court neighborhood is probably your ideal location. They don't call them the sophomore slums for nothing, though the ""slums"" aspect is not particularly accurate. The few clustered blocks bordered by Dayton, Park and Regent are essentially The Dorms 2.0, as several of the apartment complexes which make up the territory offer leases tailored to first-time renters, but they come along with premium price tags. McDonald's can even serve as a 24-hour cafeteria, with food that's probably about as healthy as what you'll get on an average trip to Carson's.
All of the other things you were used to in the dorms (at least the Southeast ones) are there as well; it's close to most campus buildings, State Street isn't too far away, and weekends generally result in people getting loud and drunk. Basically, Joe or Jane Witte should be right at home. It's not an advisable location for upperclassmen (unless you want to feel like the elderly village creep), but for those with sufficient pocketbooks just beginning to venture into the world of renting, the sophomore slums aren't too bad.
What's so great about living on University Avenue? In a word: Everything.
After a brief stint in the sophomore slums, I've spent two years living in the University/Gorham Street area. It's proximity to just about every noteworthy building, bar or restaurant is too much to pass up.
It's true; apartments on University are a little more expensive than average. But you get what you pay for.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: There are three liquor stores within a block of my apartment. Remember when Riley's liquor license got suspended for a month? Me too, I walked an extra 10 feet and got my drank from University Avenue Liquor.
And when I'm sober, I don't have to take a bus to class or the SERF. Honestly, I didn't even know we got a free bus pass until yesterday.
Basically, if you want to do well in school, stay in shape and be popular, then you need to shell out some extra cash and live on University Avenue.
Suffering from chronic hunger and incessant cravings for cheap beer and crappy alcohol? Don't feel like trekking across campus through wintry weather for semi-authentic Chinese food or gourmet, rainbow-colored popcorn? Well, State Street area apartments are the home for you!
While there may be a panhandling hobo or two, living in the State Street area provides residents with an array of dining options and shops that make life without a car more convenient. You don't have to live in the Aberdeen Apartments or Lucky to receive coffee house perks. Living in a rickety flat with potential carbon monoxide leaks gives students the opportunity to save pocketfuls of money in close proximity to a grab bag of coffee shops of your choice!
Not only will you get to hear the screams of belligerent drunk girls singing Disney songs on a Wednesday night, but you will get to enjoy these musical treats without being branded as an average coastie.
Life so close to civilization will make you feel alive, but warning: the restaurant selection available in this area may also make you increasingly poor and extremely fat.
West Washington Street
Unlike a giant, anonymous high rise or shiny new townhouse, the homes on and around West Washington Avenue have character—and so does the neighborhood.
During the winter, neighbors and friends battle in snowball fights (during ""Snowmageddon '09"" there was an all-out war between the even and odd sides of West Washington); then when Madison warms up it seems like everyone on the block spends the summer grilling on their front porch.
And on that glorious first Saturday of May, the entire campus comes out to enjoy the neighborhood's awesomeness in the drinking marathon known as the Mifflin Street Block Party.
A lot of the houses are old—quite a few have been around for more than a century—and some of them show their age more than others. But that just means you have to be picky about where you rent.
Find a great place to live in the West Washington neighborhood and you won't ever want to leave.
Nobody's blind to the stereotypes of the Langdon neighborhood. It's the center of the Greek community on campus and not everybody is cool with that.
However, the positives of the area far outweigh the negatives. It's close to State Street, the Capitol and classes.
Then there's the lake. If you've got a porch, there's nothing better than hanging out with a beer in the summer. Yeah, you've got to deal with a little bro-flow, but Langdon is certainly worth a look.